The Watering Hole: April 30 – “The Man Who Never Was”

On April 30, 1943, the submarine HMS Seraph surfaced in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain to deposit a dead man planted with false invasion plans and dressed as a British military intelligence officer.

Submarine HMS Seraph - P219

This plot called Operation Mincemeat was the basis for the novel – The Man Who Never Was.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

Will & Kate plus 8 Million Hours of Interminable Swooning over the British Monarchy

Our bloggy friend, 5thState, presents his take on the recent media madness in the U.S. over some wedding in England…

This week the American corporate mass media has shifted into ‘over-bonkers-drive’ coverage of everything to do with Friday’s matrimonial shindig in London, England-shire, of Prince William Windsor (of the Windsor Windsors) and Catherine Middleton; a bit of middle-class crumpet from Buckleberry (best known for its hobbit-friendly, Nazgul thwarting ferry).

Such gushing attention might appear extremely odd given America’s anti-monarchical foundations, until one considers a few facts and features of the WASPy American psyche that has been molded from the nation’s vague subconscious memory of its birth, its awkward pubescent years in search of a moral compass, its first experiences with the sexiness of war (and subsequent depression over war-erectile dysfunction), its personal battle against oil addiction punctuated by episodes of political paranoia to form its contemporary state of ADD, Alzheimer’s and dependence on pseudo-scientific remedies, blockbuster-movie sponsored food-type “Happy-Meals” with the extra spiritual nutrition of toxic choking-hazard toys, and FDA approved pharmaceutical solutions to problems that most Americans probably wouldn’t ‘have’ if drug-company psy-ops departments weren’t such a great source of the advertising dollars and campaign contributions that allow the mental midgets of the media and politics to enjoy the privileged lifestyle of the fabled American Dream of owning time-saving appliances and hanging with the celebrities of human endeavor who usually actually have worked-hard for their life-rewards.

Note: If you struggled with the above run-on paragraph or in fact totally comprehended-it, just getting through it means that you are a contemporary and real American! Continue reading

Breaking News: Tea Party Caucus Blows Off Tornado Victims

Standing firm behind their mantra of personal responsibility, members of the Tea Party Caucus vowed to block all Federal Relief for the victims of the tornados that ravaged the country this past week, killing nearly 300 Americans.

“They chose to live in the path of a tornado” Michelle Bachman said, “and now they have to live with the consequences of that choice.” Bachman said she and other members of the Tea Party Caucus will place holds and filibuster any attempt to provide federal funds for disaster relief in the stricken areas.

“Disaster Relief is just another form of Socialism” said Sarah Palin, who quit as Governor of Alaska following her failed bid to become Vice President so she could exploit the free market with lavish book deals and speaking engagements. “We don’t need to turn to our Goverment for a hand out. We should look to God, who is loving and wonderful and maybe take this as a learning experience, a lesson from God, that we should move to that great and wonderful State of Alaska, which is God’s country, as we all know, because Alaska doesn’t get any tornados, so that’s why I support Michelle and her wonderful Tea Partiers because we don’t need Alaska’s tax dollars going to some free handout to someone who made poor choices all their lives and now God chose to punish them. So really, disaster relief is like going against the will of God. And in this great God-fearing Country of ours, God Bless America, we must never go against God’s Will.”

At that point, a severe weather event caused a power outage at the press conference, and all attendees were herded into storm shelters.

Updates to follow when available.

The Watering Hole: April 29 – Help a Frog Today

Today is National Save the Frogs Day.

I first experienced this type of event when I lived in Baden Württemberg, a state in West Germany. School children would go out and escort (and sometimes carry) frogs across rural highways on a Spring day when migration was at its peak for mating season. Sometimes, they would do so as well on Spring weekends under parental supervision.

Frog underpasses (Usually poly pipe under routes that the little critters were prone to cross during their migration.) were provided in some cities and towns. Frog crossing signs also cropped up in season.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

The Watering Hole: April 28 – The Bounty

The mutiny on the Bounty occurred aboard the British Royal Navy ship HMS Bounty on April 28, 1789. Dictatorial power incited the mutiny. The mutineers set Captain Bligh and 18 crew members loyal to him afloat in a small boat.

As House Speaker John Boehner has assumed the role of Captain Bligh and the congressional Republican delegation his loyal crew, it is now the time for Mutiny on the Ballot!

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Where the Earth meets the Sky

A Modern Parable by Briseadh na Faire

The young man flopped his rucksack down underneath the giant oak and picked through the contents, looking for something to eat. He was muttering beneath his breath and swatting at the flies that annoyed him. Soon he was dining on a morsel of dried meat, some bread and water from a drinking gourd.

A Traveler in a white robe came up the path near the oak. He had a birch walking staff, and various pouches were tied to the cord ’round his waist. The Traveler paused, leaned on his staff and looked at the young man. “It’s a fine day.” he said.

“It would be nicer if it were a bit cooler,” replied the young man, “and if there weren’t so many flies.” he added.

“True.” said the Traveler as he closed his eyes for a moment. A cool breeze came up from the East, and a dragonfly zipped by gathering its meal for the day. “Where are you headed?” asked the Traveler.

“To the horizon.” said the young man, speaking as he bit into the bread.

“The horizon?” asked the Traveler. “That’s a long journey. What is it you seek?”

“Years ago I went to a wise man and asked him where I would find enlightenment. He told me to go and sell all I had and give him the proceeds, because enlightenment is very precious.” replied the young man.

“And did you?” The Traveler approached the shade and sat next to the young man.

“Yes.” the young man continued, washing down another bite of bread. “And then he told me the secret.”

“The secret?

“The secret to enlightenment. I was so excited I could barely contain myself.” The young man paused. He was about to share the secret to a complete stranger; the secret that had cost him everything he owned to purchase. He looked at the Traveler, who removed a pear from one of the pouches on his belt and began eating. “This man is poor, he has nothing,” the young man thought. “He cannot afford the secret.” And the young man felt compassion for the Traveler, for although enlightenment is indeed precious, it should also be shared.

The young man leaned towards the Traveler and said in a low voice, “Enlightenment is on the horizon. When I reach the horizon, I will reach enlightenment. You can come with me if you like.”

The Traveler took another bite of the sweet pear and drew in the dirt beneath the great oak; a line cutting through a circle. “Tell me,” the Traveler asked, “where is the horizon?”

“Why, it’s where the earth meets the sky.” the young man exclaimed.

“And how long have you been traveling towards the horizon?” continued the Traveler.

“Three years now.” was the young man’s answer.

“I should think that would be quite long enough.” responded the Traveler as he finished the pear. He placed the core near an ant hill.

“What do you mean?” the young man felt slightly insulted. He had traveled a great distance in three years, crossing plains and mountains and deserts and oceans. He was getting closer to the horizon with every step. Surely a few more days, a week, a month at most, and he would be on the horizon.

The Traveler drew another circle. “Look to the east.” he said as he drew a short line at the east of the circle. “To the south, the west, the north.” and the circle had four short lines at each point of the compass. “If you had the eyes of an eagle, you might see someone standing on the horizon any direction you look.”

“The enlightened ones!” the young man’s heart danced in his breast. The Traveler sighed and an eagle cried plaintively overhead.

“Why do you say that?” the Traveler asked.

“Because they are standing where the sun meets the sky!” was the young man’s reply.

“Look above you, past the leaves of the oak. What do you see?” directed the Traveler.

“The sky, of course.”

“And below you?”

“The earth.” replied the young man. “What is your point?”

“The point is,” and the Traveler leaned in, “that where you are sitting, right here beneath this oak, on this very spot, is where the earth meets the sky.”

The young man pulled back as if he had just been struck a blow on the forehead. He blinked in uncomprehending disbelief. Ants were rejoicing at the gift left by the Traveler as they hurried to devour the remains of the pear and bring its sweet fruit into their nest.

“If you stand and go over to that stone,” the Traveler continued, “you will be standing where earth meets the sky. And if you climb that hill,” he pointed to a nearby hill, “or descend into that pit, you will be where the earth meets the sky. No matter where you go, you will be where the earth meets the sky.”

“But,” the young man stammered, “but, that means enlightenment is … is everywhere!”

The Traveler smiled and stood. Sunlight filtered through the leaves of the oak, striking the back of his head, giving it the appearance of a golden glow. The eagle cried again as it circled overhead. The young man looked up to catch a glimpse of the bird. When he looked back again, the Traveler was gone.

“Enlightenment is everywhere.” the young man thought, as a new excitement filled his being. He stood up in the shade beneath the giant oak, took a deep breath, and started off in a new direction.

(copyright 2006 Briseadh na Faire)

This is our Open Thread. What’s on your mind today?

The Watering Hole: Sunday, April 24, 2011: HAPPY EASTER and BLESSED OESTARA

Hand-Painted Easter Eggs

As I woke up this morning, I got to wondering, why did this custom of coloring eggs and hiding them come about?  I could think of only one answer: because it’s fun.

So, today, while many go to church for one of their two visists a year; many celebrate their belief that the Son of God came back to life in His physical body, giving proof of life after death; many others treat this as just another Sunday; and others treat this as a day to celebrate Spring, with all its attendant colors and hope of a bountiful harvest.

If there is one singular meaning for today, I believe it is this: enjoy life.

Peace and Blessings,

Briseadh na Faire

The Watering Hole: April 23 – Inspiration

On April 23rd, 1910, Teddy Roosevelt delivered these core words during a speech in NYC:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, he at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Few remember that speech or what was said at the time, but these words reflect on the dilemma that we face today. The speech is really moving when we consider the petty politics that are going on now, only 101 years later.

Remember: (A Man, A P)lan, A Canal—(Panama)? How will either Bush or Reagan be remembered for anything but massive deficits? Bill Clinton actually placed the country back on a solid economic footing. Now if only Barack Obama could grow a backbone…

For the entire speech go here (Scroll down for the complete text.).

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.